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Beit Midrash Shabbat and Holidays The Laws of Pesach

Special Laws for Pesach

Rabbi Dov LiorNissan 5769
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Bdikat Chametz-The Search four Chametz
1) It is completely permissible to check with an electric flashlight, and to say the appropriate blessing beforehand. A flashlight is preferable to a candle since is it won't drip or cause a fire.
2) A place that Chametz was kept regularly, (for example, a food cabinet that one wants to use now for dishes) and was cleaned and checked thoroughly at least three days before Bdikat Chametz, and it is certain that no Chametz was put there afterwards; that place is now assumed to be free of Chametz* and according to the essential law, is exempt from Bdikat Chametz. Therefore, the Minhag to give such places a quick check during Bdikat Chametz. (*By virtue of those three days, the place has a Chazaka of not having Chametz).
3) If one has a store or warehouse close to his home (walking distance) then the Bracha he says for checking his home includes the second place, and walking there is not considered in interruption (Hefsek) or a distraction (Hiseach Hadaat). But if he has to drive in order to get there, he should say another blessing in the store, etc.
4) One who leaves his residence before the thirteenth of Nisan and will not return at the time of Bdikat Chametz (for example, a Yeshiva student in his room), must check according to the Halacha (by candle or flashlight, at the beginning of the night) without a Bracha, the night before he departs. (This is preferable to appointing a Shaliach to check at the regular time, since a Mitzva is greater when one does it himself. If possible, he should hear the Bracha from the host (Baal Habayit) where he is staying on the night between the 13th and 14th of Nisan, and be the host's Shaliach to check at least one room).

Kitniot on Pesach
1) Communities that accepted upon themselves not to eat Kitniot on Pesach must keep their Minhag (custom). However, great Torah scholars of recent generations, among them HaRav Kook and the Iggrot Moshe, wrote that the Minhag encompasses only those species included in the original prohibition, and that the stricture shouldn't extend beyond that.
2) There is no need to be strict about Kitniot that did not come into contact with water during their preparation. (The logic being that we shouldn't be stricter about Kitniot that about we are about grain.) Therefore, Kitniot oil that is known not to have come in contact with water during its production is Kosher for Pesach, even for those who don't otherwise eat Kitniot. Similarly, roasted Kitniot, that one is certain that they were prevented from contacting water (and obviously flour as well); for example, Kitniot that one roasted by himself, are permitted.
3) Kitniot that didn't exist (that is, they were unknown and/or existed only in far-away lands) at the time of the Gzeira (prohibition) were not included in it. Therefore, Soya and Quinoa should be permitted.
4) Legumes such as green beans and peas which are still in their pods are considered vegetables and not Kitniot.
5) A food mixture which includes Kitniot, which was mixed before Pesach, is entirely permitted (Lechatchila). Therefore, all dairy products which are stamped "for those who eat Kitniot" are permitted for everyone.
6) It is permissible to eat from dishes on which Kitniot were previously served, as long as one is careful not to eat the Kitniot themselves.
7) Liftit (which is used for making chocolate, and is derived from the same plant as Canola oil-ed.) is not included in the prohibition of Kitniot, since it itself inedible.

Detergents and Cosmetics
Regarding food, obviously, one must be careful to buy only that which has a Hechsher (Rabbinical certification) for Pesach. On the other hand, cleaning agents such as bleach, laundry detergent and bath soap, as well as women's cosmetics and even toothpaste, can be used as usual year-round, since these products are unfit to be eaten.

A Bit of Chametz in the Kinneret Sea
Even a tiny amount of Chametz which mixes into food or drink on Pesach causes all of it to be forbidden. (This is true whether the Chametz mixes with food similar to itself or dissimilar.) However, all of this is relevant when the food or drink is detached from the ground, as in the case of a crumb of Chametz falling into a large pot or into a water reservoir (which the water was drawn into.) However, whatever is attached to the ground does not become forbidden. Therefore, there is absolutely no basis to be stringent and not to drink water from the Kinneret or any other natural body of water.

Kashering Dishes and Appliances for Pesach
1) Sink and countertop: are kashered (after thorough cleaning) by pouring boiling water on them. (If you are not sure the material they are made of can stand up to the heat without damage, consult with a Rabbi-ed.) Even after this, one should be careful during Pesach not to put a boiling-hot pot directly on the countertop, but only on a separation such as a wood board or aluminum foil.
2) Utensils made of clay pottery, china, porcelain, ceramic: if they were used for Chametz that was either hot or sharp-tasting (spicy, pungent, etc.) then they cannot be kashered.
3) Plastic, Bakelite, Nylon utensils: if they were used only for eating (cli sheni) and not for cooking, they can be kashered by pouring boiling water on them directly from the vessel the water was boiled in (cli rishon.)
4) Glass utensils: this depends on the customs of different communities. According to Minhag of the Sephardim (who go according to the Shulchan Aruch, no kashering is required. The Ashkenazi Minhag (according to the Rama) is to immerse glass dishes in water for three days, and to change the water every 24 hours.
5) Duralex: can be kashered in boiling water.
6) Baking ovens and toasters: need to be cleaned meticulously and turned up to the highest temperature for 15 minutes. Special baking pans or trays for Pesach should be used.
7) Mixer: can be kashered by meticulously cleaning all the parts. However, those parts that were used all year for kneading dough shouldn't be used for Pesach.
8) False teeth: should be kashered by pouring boiling water on them from a vessel.
9) Microwave oven: should be cleaned thoroughly. Afterwards a bowl of water should be placed inside and boiled until steam comes out. If Chametz was placed directly on the rotating plate, the plate should either be replaced or covered with something that will separate between it and the Pesach dish being heated. (But not with metal-ed.)
10) Dishwasher: needs to be cleaned thoroughly (including the filter) and operated once without dishes, at the same temperature it is usually used.
11) Pressure cooker: needs to be cleaned thoroughly and immersed in boiling water. The rubber seal should be changed.

Eating "Mezonot" Erev Pesach
1) One may eat cooked Matza balls ("Kneidelach") on Erev Pesach. When the day before Pesach is Shabbat, this is one way to perform the obligation of eating the Third Meal (Seudah Shlishit).
2) Cakes and other pastries baked from Matza flour should not be eaten Erev Pesach.

Eating the Matzot Mitzva on the Seder Night
1) Machine "Shmura" Matzot are completely valid for Matzot Mitzva.
2) The Halachic amount (Shiur) of "Kezayit" is approximately a third of a standard machine Matza. Therefore the minimum amount of Matza required for every man and woman at the Seder is one and a third machine Shmura Matzot, that is, four "Kezaytim". The breakdown is, one Kezayit for the Bracha "Hamotzei", another for the Mitzva of eating Matza (these two Kezaytim are eaten together), a third for "Korech" and a fourth for Afikoman.
3) Each Kezayit should be eaten within 5 minutes (C'dai Achilat Pras).
4) One should make sure to eat the Afikoman before Chatzot (Halachic midnight.) (Consult a Jewish timetable, updated every year, for the exact times regarding all the Mitzvot of Erev Pesach and the Seder-ed.)
5) Regarding someone who will be on duty, or continues to learn Torah after Chatzot on the Seder night and needs to drink coffee or tea: ordinarily one shouldn't eat or drink after eating the Afikoman, except for completing the 4 Cups or drinking water. In the abovementioned cases, however, one may rely on the Halachic opinions that the prohibition is only until the end of the time allotted to eating Matza; that is, until Chatzot.

Maror, the "Bitter Herb"
An average leaf of lettuce is sufficient for Maror. (Comprises a Kezayit)

The Four Cups
1) Each cup of the four cups should be drunk within for seconds.
2) Those who are careful about Mitzvot should take into account the opinion of the Ramban, who says that it is not sufficient to drink the majority of a Reviyit ("Rov Reviyit") each time, but one must drink the majority of the actual cup he is using. Therefore, if drinking a large quantity is difficult for someone, the solution is to use a cup of approximately 100 cubic centimeters in capacity, whereas the majority of a Reviyit is usually also the majority of the cup.
3) The quantity comprising a Reviyit is 86 cubic centimeters, according to Rav Chaim Naeh.

Karpas
1) When making the blessing "Boreh Pri Haadama" one should intend that the blessing include the Maror he will eat later.
2) One should make sure to eat less than a Kezayit of Karpas.
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